Posts tagged 'Little Mell Fell'

The Keeltappers and Grunters Social Club 2011 Wildcamp Weekend – Part 1 – Friday

Posted by on July 12th 2011 in Great Escapes, Wildcamping

I managed a reasonably early getaway on Friday but still arrived at the M6 in time to be caught up in a major snarl-up near J12. After being backed off the slip-road by the Feds I lost a lot of time detouring cross-country to J14 so it was still a race to get to J40 before mid-afternoon. After a stop for a quick bite at the Penrith Little Chef I set off again for Howtown and eventually parked up near the church at the top of the twisting road:

 

The Church of St. Peter, Martindale

 

With Mike not due to arrive for an hour or so I grabbed the camera, stowed the rest of the gear in the car and strolled up the easy slopes of Hallin Fell. I started off in warm sunshine but within minutes it was hemping it down and I was thoroughly soaked. No matter, I spent a while at the top rain-dodging and taking a few pics. I'd imagine that on a clear day the views from the top would be excellent but this wasn't such a day. I did have the place to myself, though, which was unexpected as the fell-top is usually a popular place:

 

Rain over Martindale

 

Looking along Ullswater towards Pooley Bridge

 

Looking across Ullswater towards a distant Little Mell Fell

 

Moody skies over Angletarn Pikes

 

The Obelisk atop Hallin Fell

 

On the way back down the rain eased a bit and the southwards view opened up. My camera-skills don't do the vista any justice whatsoever:

 

Martindale, Boredale and surrounding fells

 

A few minutes after I'd returned to the car Mike signalled his arrival with a two-fingered salute. After a more customary handshake I changed into proper (dry) walking attire and we shouldered our contra-lightweight loads to head for the hills.

Passing the church we skirted crags and waded through sodden bracken along a thin trod that led towards Gowk Hill. The rain had set in and Mike was soon regretting his decision to wear shorts. At the first wall we stopped for a breather before nipping up to the neat top of Pikeawassa, the summit of Steel Knotts:

 

Pikeawassa

 

Me "bagging" Pikeawassa

 

Despite him not being a "bagger", Mike was pleased to get to the top

 

Back at the wall Mike started acting a bit strange. I think he needs professional help:

 

"Look! Up there! Two Swedish blondes!"

 

From the wall the view up the valley was excellent with clouds grazing the fell-tops and ridges:

 

Looking over Martindale and into Bannerdale

 

We continued along the path towards Gowk Hill, skirting Brownthwaite Crag and heading for the derelict buildings at the watersmeet at the head of Fusedale. After squelching around for a while we found a fairly well-drained level area and set up camp for the night as the rain started to ease. We shot the breeze as evening fell and the midges rose... there was much talk of Sudocrem, Swedish blondes, sea-kayaks and work (or lack thereof) - basically, we put the world to rights. After watching the clouds obscure a fine sunset we retired for the night:

 

The first pitch

 

Mike's crapper 🙂

 

To be continued...

The Keeltappers and Grunters Social Club 2010 Patterdale Meet – Sunday

Posted by on February 11th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

After a good sleep we woke to overcast skies and low cloud. Frank and Mike left soon after breakfast - Mike needed to be home for his Sunday dinner, and Frank was on a promise.

I considered my options... I didn't have time for the walk that I had intended to do on the Saturday, and I wasn't entirely sure that the steamer would be sailing anyway, so I headed to the north side of Ullswater. Approaching the NW corner of the lake I spotted a familiar campervan in the car-park - it was Phil, chilling with a newspaper and a smoke, and considering what he would do with the day. As I left him he seemed intent on getting on the water to do some pike-fishing.

I said my farewell and drove a short way up the Dockray road to get a feel for the weather. It was going to be a grey day...

Ullswater and St. Sunday Crag from the Park Brow on the Dockray road

 

Gowbarrow fell was the obvious target. I left the motor in the NT car-park and made my way up to the open fellside above Aira Beck, with the bands of cloud clearing occasionally to allow more views back to Ullswater and Glenridding:

Ullswater from the slopes of Gowbarrow Fell

 

Further up the clag was constant and the tangle of paths was confusing so I needed to pay more attention to navigation. After finding many a false summit I reached the top and managed a pic just before the sleet started:

 

The top of Gowbarrow Fell

I beat a hasty retreat down to High Force where I mingled with the sightseers to get a snap of the falls before getting back to the car:

 

High Force, Aira Beck

It was nearing time for lunch, and I just didn't fancy sitting in the car to munch the remains of the food-stash. I studied the map and took a chance on a little top that I'd noticed before but had never considered visiting - The Knotts, just outside Watermillock. I parked up on roadside to the west and scrambled (trespassed?) up a steep wooded slope for five minutes to reach a barrier of gorse and a barbed-wire fence. No matter, I just walked alongside the fence until I found a section that collapsed, and then it was a two-minute stroll to the top.

And what a fine top it is. Not so low as to feel surrounded by fells, and not so high as to feel detached, it has soft grass, a significant cairn and is a fine place from where to view the fells around Howtown:

 

Hallin Fell and Ullswater from The Knotts

 

After lunch I descended northwards on a fair track that led me to a caravan park, so I legged it down their driveway to the road to avoid trespass hassles. It was an hour well-spent.

I was feeling good and I still had time for one more short walk. The only other Wainwright nearby and still to be ascended was Little Mell Fell. It's not the most photogenic of places, so the only pic I took was of the top which is fairly devoid of features. I walked a small loop around the summit, searching for views, but there was little to see through the mist. The whole round-trip from The Hause took just under an hour:

The top of Little Mell Fell

 

And that was it. I changed my boots back at the car and went home.

It had been a great weekend, in good company, and I was pleased that everybody got to do a bit of what they liked. Bagging-wise, I'd been up four Wainwrights, of which two were new to me.

Unlike the others, my Sunday dinner wasn't waiting for me, and I wasn't on a promise 🙁

Winter-walking around Ullswater – Part 2

Posted by on January 30th 2009 in Great Escapes, YHA

Saturday night was a warm night in the hostel, I would have been colder sleeping in the car. In the morning we found out that the warden had remembered to turn on the heating. Fantastic.

Sunday’s breakfast was yet another downer - it seems that the standard YHA breakfast still no longer features bacon. It does, however, feature an even sloppier yellow mulch that is still reputed to be scrambled egg. It still wasn’t. It was even worse shite. Fan-bloody-tastic.

We changed, packed and checked out. The singleton hill for the morning was chosen - Great Mell Fell.

We parked up to the south-east of the fell, and I got ready to go forth. It's a one-hour-up-and-down hill, so I went off armed with minimal gear (the camera). Ella was feeling a bit delicate (no doubt due to the lack of bacon), so she stayed in the car and iPodded while I plodded.

The day was such a contrast to the previous one - flat light, much wetness, not so much snow underfoot.

I tackled the wooded lee-slope head-on, in an effort to gain height fast to beat the incoming bad weather. It was a mad thing to do, as the slope was wet/muddy/icy/mossy/covered with wet leaves, and the slope averaged 40 degrees, so there was much slippage and even more swearing. Step-kicking was the only way to conquer the terrain and maintain any semblance of dignity, so it was a good job that I'd elected to wear the Scarpa Freney Pros, which edge well and so are excellent for such stuff.

Some minutes later I emerged from the calm of the trees into a biting head-wind laced with hailstones. I took refuge under the roots of a fallen tree while the worst of the flying ice passed by, then I hooded up and made a break for the top just a few hundred metres away.

As predicted, the views eastwards and northwards were good, with the Pennines visible under fairly blue skies, but in all other directions the land was beneath overbearing cloud or obscured by airborne wetness, as per the following pic:

(click the pic for more bigness and a lightbox-type thingy.)

The top of Great Mell Fell

I left the top just as another hailstorm hit and a party of Sunday Ramblers arrived - I was in no mood to stand chatting while being eroded by the weather. I stopped just twice on the way back to the car - once to get a rushed photo of Little Mell Fell...

Little Mell Fell


and once to get a snapshot of this unfortunate ex-fellwanderer:

There's no "i" in sheep

 

Back at the car Ella was safe and well, so we set off for home. More feckwits were encountered on the M6 and the A5, but that's a story for another day.

So, another weekend of fun was over. Two more Wainwrights visited, Ella reintroduced to the delights of winter-walking, and a resolution to check the breakfast menu before booking the next stay in a hostel.

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